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Abbas to hold further talks with Israel's Olmert - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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JERUSALEM, (Reuters) – Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will meet again with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on Sunday, Israeli and Palestinian officials said.

The next round of talks in Jerusalem will come days after a visit by U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice that made little progress toward a goal of a limited peace accord before President George W. Bush leaves office in January.

Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat told Reuters on Friday Abbas and Olmert would meet to “review the negotiations and the final status issues”.

The leaders would also discuss a Western-backed peace “road map” that demands Israel halt settlement building in occupied territory and that Palestinians rein in militants, Erekat said.

An Israeli official confirmed the talks would take place, saying they would be held in Jerusalem.

The leaders last met on Aug. 6. Israel freed 198 Palestinian prisoners from its jails on Monday, in a gesture that sought to boost the Western-backed Abbas, who faces challenges from the Islamist Hamas group that seized control of Gaza last year.

Analysts doubt Washington’s goal of a quick peace deal will be met, as Olmert, weakened by a corruption probe, has vowed to step down once his Kadima party chooses a new leader next month.

Though Olmert could remain in power for weeks afterwards as a caretaker prime minister, his weakened political stature would likely hamper his clout to make critical diplomatic decisions.

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

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